Are we already left behind? Participate at the HLPF for the SDGs

Posted by & filed under Accountability, Policy influencing.

Thea Shahrokh

The Participate network contributed to raising the issue of participation and accountability at the High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development July 11-20, 2016- UNHQ, New York.

Participate was one of many civil society actors to co-create a Together 2030 side event “Are we already left behind? The role of civil society and stakeholders on national reviews of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

Knowledge from the margins to the HLPF

Sophia Kitcher from the Ada Songor Salt Women’s Association – ASSWA and Radio Ada in the Ghana Community Radio Network spoke to this forum through video intervention, sharing perspectives and issues around monitoring and accountability of the SDGs from women marginalised in their communities on issues of resource extraction and equitable development. In Sophia’s words:

Sustainable development must mean development for all not for some. It must mean the improvement of livelihood, not their sacrifice for profit-making. In our case it must mean the return to communal assets and artisinal salt production in our Songor Lagoon. A message we encapsulate in the shout “Songor! For all!”


The side event took place on 15 July in the Expert Segment week and was organised in partnership with CEPEI, Sightsavers, World Vision International, Justice Development Peace Commission, Save Matabeleland Coalition, Philippines Social Enterprise Network, Participate Network, Bond, Norwegian Forum for Development and Environment and cosponsored by the missions of Colombia, Sierra Leone and the Philippines.

Radio Ada also created a podcast sharing the perspectives of citizens from the Ada region of Ghana and the complexity of governance of salt lagoons in the Ada traditional area, the challenges of sustainable development and the resulting marginalisation of women and their livelihoods.


The Participate initiative

From 2012-2014, Participate worked to bring the perspectives of people living in poverty and marginalisation into national and global consultations and decision-making spaces and processes, so that the post-2015 development agenda would be consistent with their realities, priorities and aspirations. People who participated in this research voiced a common desire: to be able to play an active role in developing their own futures, and in shaping, monitoring and implementing the policies and programmes that affect them.

In September 2015, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were formally approved by the United Nations General Assembly. The need for a participatory monitoring and accountability approach as an important component to the implementation of these goals has been acknowledged, and is the focus of this new phase of Participate.

The Participatory Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) programme (2015-2017) engages with this urgent agenda of the participatory monitoring of the SDGs. In alignment with the ‘leave no one behind’ framing within the post-2015 development agenda, the PMA programme is working with groups of people living in poverty and marginalisation to strengthen processes of citizen-led accountability. It builds on Participate’s global participatory research network, and its track record in demonstrating the value of participatory action research – in its many forms and approaches – as enabling people living in poverty and marginalisation to exercise accountability.

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